Golfers from Cayman compete in Jamaica

Stephen Heal putts as Andy Newton, right, looks on.

Golfers from Cayman participated in separate but concurrent tournaments last week in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The Classic Championship was divided into groups according to age and were contested by the top amateur golfers of the region in those age brackets.

Classic Stableford is an event for golfers of all abilities from advanced to beginner, divided into groups according to ability.

Caribbean Classic Championship

Eight Cayman representatives played in teams of two in this competition. Orapin “Nitti” Howe and Emma Woodhouse were in the ladies 30+ category, and on the men’s side were Tracy Moore and Jonathan Joyce (35+), Robert Woods and Scott Kapuscinski (50+), and Stephen Heal and Andy Newton (60+). Three competition rounds were played in a better ball format. The men’s divisions had formerly been played as part of the Caribbean Amateur Championships, which are held over the summer; the team event for ladies was new this year.

In the men’s division, the 50+ team of Kapuscinski and Woods were second after day one and recorded the top spot for the Cayman players, finishing third. The lowest round of the tournament for the Cayman team was shot by Moore and Joyce, at 1 under par 71. They finished the tournament tied for fifth place, as did the 60+ team of Heal and Newton.

In the ladies division, Howe and Woodhouse finished in fourth place after a to-and-fro tussle in the final round.

Cayman Islands Golf Association secretary and team member Woodhouse said, “The golf association felt it was important that Cayman support this new initiative, particularly as it presented an opportunity for female golfers to play international competitive golf in a format and at a level that was geared for and accessible to older lady players, rather than college golfers. I was honored to be invited to be part of the team.”

The Cayman team at the Caribbean Classic Championship, back row, from left, Tracy Moore, Jonathan Joyce, Scott Kapuscinski and Robert Woods. Front row from left, Stephen Heal, Emma Woodhouse, Orapin ‘Nitti’ Howe and Andy Newton
The Cayman team at the Caribbean Classic Championship, back row, from left, Tracy Moore, Jonathan Joyce, Scott Kapuscinski and Robert Woods. Front row from left, Stephen Heal, Emma Woodhouse, Orapin ‘Nitti’ Howe and Andy Newton

As well as having to play an unfamiliar course with difficult greens, the conditions were very testing, she noted, with strong winds on days one and two, and later, heavy and at times torrential rain.

“This was the first time that I had played at this level,” said Woodhouse, “and I am very grateful that I was in a team with Nitti, who is a former Cayman Islands Amateur Champion and who has represented Cayman at both the Caribbean Amateur and the Island Games. We gelled well as a team and really enjoyed the better ball format.”

CIGA President Paul Woodhouse congratulated all the team members on their standard of play and the places they attained in the competition, given that Cayman is one of the smallest island nations represented at Caribbean Golf Association events.

The final two rounds of qualification for the men’s and ladies teams for the Caribbean Amateur in the Bahamas in July will take place on and May 7 and 21 at the North Sound Golf Club.

Classic Stableford

Nineteen golfers represented Cayman in the annual Caribbean Classic Tournament, which brought together more than 100 golfers from across the region. This event is for golfers of all levels of skill, where players compete in different flights based on their handicaps. It is a modified Stableford event where players earn point according to their score relative to par.

Nitti Howe practices her swing.
Nitti Howe practices her swing.

The Cayman Islands Golf Association has been a keen supporter of this event for years, and a spokesman said they were delighted that so many players traveled to take part.

A qualifying event was held in January, at which 10 of the players won partial sponsorships from the association.

Paul Woodhouse said, “Whilst it is an important part of our brief to send our top level golfers to represent Cayman overseas, the Classic gives CIGA the perfect opportunity to support members with a broad range of skills levels to attend an international event. It is a great way for CIGA to give back to the membership who support us throughout the year.” He also thanked restaurant group Eats/Legendz/Yoshi for their sponsorship of all the team shirts for 2016.

The Classic requires the golfers to play a different course each day. In addition to the varied and challenging courses, the weather also added to the difficulty, with strong winds in the first two rounds and heavy rain on the final day. While the emphasis on the course is on making the best possible score, it is also a very social event away from the fairways and greens, as players from across the region get together.

Among the five women from Cayman who took part in the event, Diane Brazelton was runner-up in the third flight and Rocio Esau was fourth in flight four.

Among the men, Paul Woodhouse was fourth in flight 1, which was for the lowest handicap golfers. Mick Whitworth and John Marrs came in fifth and seventh, respectively, in flight 2.

CIGA will run the final round of the North Sound Golf Club – CIGA Stableford series on May 14. Scores on that day will determine the winners of the yearlong event. The current top five are: Glenn Abell, Maria Butler, Michael Wight, Braden Howe and Nitti Howe.

Anyone interested in joining or learning more about the golf association should contact Emma Woodhouse at [email protected]